• Who will succeed Chong Wei? (pic)

    BUKIT JALIL: Does Malaysia have the talent in the men’s singles department to replace world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei?

    Based on last year’s results and current form, there are eight potential shuttlers. Sadly, all of them are still under the radar in the international scene.

    Six of them are Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) players – Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin, Goh Soon Huat, Choong Yee Han, Tan Kian Meng, Soong Joo Ven and Soo Teck Zhi – and two independent players – Misbun Ramdan Misbun and Zulfadli Zulkifli.Lee Chong Wei might have two more good years in him. But there is still no replacement in sight.

    Except for Joo Ven, Yee Han and Kian Meng, the rest took part in the ongoing Maybank Malaysian Open but none cleared the qualifying tournament at the Putra Stadium on Tuesday.

    All of them put up fighting displays but still were not good enough to pull off a breakthrough.

    How much longer will it take for them to join the big league?

    China are already leaps and bounds ahead of Malaysia. So are countries like Indonesia, South Korea and even Japan, Thailand and India.

  • Lee Chong Wei looks to fend off Chen Long in Malaysia Open

    Malaysia's top-ranked badminton star Lee Chong Wei is determined to bounce back on home turf this week after a weekend loss in Korea to hard-charging world number two Chen Long of China.

    The Malaysian Open kicks off Wednesday with the 31-year-old hometown hero smarting from his loss to Chen on Sunday in the singles final of the Korean Open.

    The top two seeds are expected to cruise through their respective halves of the draw in Malaysia and could clash again in the final in Kuala Lumpur.

    Lee has dominated world badminton, holding the top ranking nearly uninterrupted since 2008 and winning seven titles last year.

  • Imminent change at top (pic)

    NEW ERA: Chen Long set to rule after latest master class

     THE Korea Open signalled the changing of the guard at the world stage as it has become evident Lee Chong Wei is powerless to stop China's Chen Long from taking over as the leading men's singles player.Chen Long is the player China will depend on to win honours this year.

    No player, not even China legend Lin Dan, has managed to beat Chong Wei in straight games four times in a row but Chen Long has done exactly that. 

    Chen Long, in prime physical condition at 25 and armed with sound tactics and skills, will be the player China will depend on to win honours in the main events this year.

  • Jan reckons only Chen can spoil Lee’s party (pic)

    BUKIT JALIL: If there is one person to break Lee Chong Wei’s more than five-year reign as the world No. 1 player, it has to be Chen Long of China this year.

    That’s the belief of Denmark’s top player Jan O Jorgensen, who is here for the Maybank Malaysian Open starting on Wednesday at Putra Stadium.

    “I may be currently ranked third in the world but I do not see myself breaking Chong Wei’s reign in the near future,” said the 26-year-old Jorgensen, who has won only two Super Series titles - the 2010 Denmark Open and last year’s French Open.Jan O Jorgensen (left) of Denmark feels that only China's Chen Long can dislodge Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei (right) from the world No.1 ranking.

    “For now, Chong Wei and Chen Long are in a different league all together. They are able to raise the level of badminton to a different level when they face-off.”

    “I do not dare put myself in that league to threaten Chong Wei’s reign - just yet. For now, it is Chen Long’s role.”

  • Chong Wei: I lost to a better player (pic)

    KUALA LUMPUR: World No. 1 Lee Chong Wei has promised to bounce back stronger at the Malaysian Open after failing to get off to a dream start in the season-opening Korean Open in Seoul.

    The 31-year-old shuttler went down 14-21, 15-21 to China’s Chen Long in Sunday’s 56-minute men’s singles final, thus crushing his hopes of winning the Korean Open for the fourth time.

    It was Chen Long’s eighth win over Chong Wei in 15 meetings – and his fourth consecutive victory over the Malaysian – in a period of 14 months.Lee Chong Wei reacts after losing a point to Chen Long of China in the men's singles final of the Korean Open on Sunday. The Malaysian world No.1 lost the match in straight sets.

    The powerful Chen Long, who is trying to fill in the shoes of five-time world champion Lin Dan, produced an efficient display to give himself an early 25th birthday present.

    Chen Long, who turns 25 on Jan 18, accelerated to a 7-0 first-game lead in just six minutes – showcasing his brilliance at the net and superb execution of smashes from the baseline.

  • Lee-Chen rivalry resumes in Korean Open final (pic)

    KUALA LUMPUR: The year’s first badminton tournament – the Korean Open – is set for a red-hot finale in chilly Seoul.

    World No. 1 and top seed Lee Chong Wei and second seed Chen Long of China were in sizzling form en route to overcoming their semi-final opponents on Saturday.

    Chong Wei stood solid in the face of Kenichi Tago’s constant battering to prevail 21-17, 21-17 in 51 minutes while the lanky Chen Long packed off Thailand’s Boonsak Ponsana 21-15, 21-9 in 41 minutes. 

    The opener saw Chong Wei losing his focus momentarily before making a comeback to nick it. The second game was nail-biting with both trading blow for blow before the 31-year-old Malaysian claimed his 15th win over the Japanese in 16 meetings.

    But Chong Wei had better be wary of the lanky Chen Long, who is shaping up well for their first duel this year.

  • Lee Chong Wei qualifies for Korean Open finals (pic)

    KUALA LUMPUR: World badminton number one Lee Chong Wei is one step closer to winning the Korean Open Super Series Badminton Tournament Championship for the fourth time after confirming a slot in the finals on Sunday.

    The Malaysian beat fifth-seeded Kenichi Tago from Japan 21-17, 21-17 in a thrilling 51-minute semi-final match at the Olympics 2 Stadium in Seoul on Saturday.

    However, he is expected to receive stiff resistance from rival Chen Long of China, who disposed veteran Thai player Boonsak Ponsana 21-15 and 21-9.

  • Favourites cruise into Korean Open quarters (pic)

    KUALA LUMPUR: No new stars stole the show in the Korean Open on a day when two tournament favourites, Lee Chong Wei and Chen Long of China, made it to the men’s singles quarter-finals in contrasting fashions.

    Top seed and defending champion Chong Wei stayed hot in a cold Seoul by disposing of Marc Zwiebler of Germany 21-14, 21-18 in the second round but second seed Chen Long dropped a game before making it through.

    All England champion Chen Long overcame a sluggish start to beat Takuma Euda of Japan 19-21, 21-9, 21-14.

    Today, Chong Wei will face a usual suspect – Du Pengyu of China, while Chen Long has set up a match against Nguyen Tien Minh of Vietnam.

    National singles coach Rashid Sidek said that the season opener has given a sneak preview of what to expect in the men’s singles competition - probably for the rest of the season.

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